Journal Guide - Deny Your Self - Mark 8:34-35

Deny Your Self
Mark 8:34-35

Week 4/Day 3

Hi everybody. It’s Pastor Dave. We are getting such a great response from people who are using the new Alone With God journal, especially along with these audio guides. And so, I would encourage you to consider getting ahold of one of our Alone With God journals and the audio guides that go with it, all by downloading the Word By Mail phone app. Just go to your app store and search for the Word By Mail app. And of course, you can find all the info at

Today we are looking at Mark 8:34-35. And actually, we’re just going to be focused on only one of the three requirements that Jesus lists here in order for us to follow him or to be his disciple. So, grab your journal, open your Bible, and turn it to Mark 8:34-35.

We are going to begin with the Meditate section in your journal, and I’m just going to read these two verses, and then we’re going to zero in on just one thing today. And then, I’m going to help you through the meditate section of the journal.

Mark 8:34-35 (NLT)
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.
35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

…you must give up your own way… Those are the words we are really going to focus on today. Just underline those in your Bible.

So, let’s just focus on this one short line today. You must give up your own way to be my follower. Jesus says, to be my disciple, you must give up your own way. Your Bible might say you must deny your self.

So, the Meditate section in your journal says, what is God’s Word saying? What are the spiritual principles here? I really want to encourage you to not overcomplicate this first section. Just write out, simply, what Jesus is saying here. And write it slowly, and let it sink in. And you might want to write something like this. Let me just give you an example.

It might be something like, I want to truly follow Christ, and if I want to truly follow Christ, I must give up my own way. And maybe write it again. I must give up my own way. That’s the phrase we’re focusing on today. So, write it, underline it, circle it, highlight it. And then, maybe add verse 35 personalized also. Maybe something like, if I try to hang on to my life, I will lose it. But if I give up my life for your sake, Jesus, I will save it.

So, write something like that just to help these words, these spiritual principles sink in. So, you must give up your own way. You must deny your self. So, spend a minute absorbing and embracing that truth from Jesus. Don’t apply it to your life yet, and don’t respond yet. Just write it in the Meditate section of your journal so that it sinks in.

Okay, next is the Apply section. The journal says, how does this apply to my life today, personally and specifically? So, we’re still not going to respond. We’re not saying what we need to do yet. Remember, the definition of “apply” that’s found in your journal is this: It is the inward acknowledgment of the truths that the Holy Spirit is pressing on your heart for your life, personally and specifically. So, that’s what we’re trying to do in the Apply section.

So, here is a three-minute clip from a live Sunday message to try to bring this point alive to you. When that clip is done, I will ask you to write how the spiritual truth of this statement applies personally and specifically to your life.

Jesus says again, in Mark 8:34, “If any of you wants to be my follower (here’s what you need to do), you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” Follow Jesus. That’s it. That’s the three requirements for becoming a Christ-follower.

I think it’s really significant that Jesus begins with the “you must give up your own way…” do you see it? “If you want to be my follower, you must give up your own way.” I believe Jesus starts with that because it is the absolute hardest thing we can ever do – is to give up our own way.

Listen, I’ll tell you this right now. If there’s something we absolutely don’t want to give up, it’s our own way. I’ll give up a lot, but I’m doing things my way. I’m doing what I want. I’m doing them my way. And I’m doing them when I want to do them. Right? Because I’m in charge. That’s what we want. That’s called the sin nature.

And so, Jesus starts with this statement, “If you want to follow me, you must give up your own way.” And I really think that this is so critical because if we can embrace this “giving up our own way,” then the next two requirements are really easy. They fall right into place; there’s no struggle. So, this is why I believe Jesus starts with this.

The literal translations say, “…deny your self.” “If you want to be my follower, you must deny yourself.” Self is the word that the Bible uses to refer to your flesh, to refer to your sin nature. It’s the thing in you that causes you to focus on your “self.” Have you ever had that problem? “It’s all about me.” Right? We do this naturally. We focus on ourselves. This is the thing that causes you to care most about your “self.”

This self-nature is what causes you to make decisions for your “self.” For your own benefit. It’s what causes you to live for your “self.” This is what I want. This is what I want to do. This is what I’m going to do.

And Jesus says self must go! Why? Because you can’t follow “self” and follow Jesus. They are in direct opposition to each other. And so, “self” must die, and as you grow in your following of Jesus, then “self” is supposed to die, and the life of Jesus is supposed to increase.

Self dies – Jesus comes alive – We have a transformed follower of Christ.

Okay, now write in your Apply section. How does this truth that I must deny my self, I must give up my own way, how does this truth apply to my life today, personally and specifically?

And then, finally, we’re ready to respond. In the Respond section, it just says what action will I take today in response to this truth? And so, what action can you take today? What commitment can you make to God, to yourself, to others today to actually begin to walk in this truth? What action can you take to obediently respond to this truth today? Go ahead and write out your response.

And finally, write your prayer. And writing your prayer is so powerful because it forces you to really think about what you’re saying to God. In your journal, in the Pray section, it says, my prayer to align my heart with the will of God on this truth. So, do that. Just write your prayer to align your heart with this truth and to ask the Lord to give you the power of the Holy Spirit to begin to walk in it.

Alright. Let me pray to close.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Living Word. And thank you, Lord, for your challenge today to each of us. Lord, we pray that your Word would do its work in our hearts and in our lives and that we would take obedient action to walk in this truth in the specific areas that you brought out to us today. For your glory, and in your name, Jesus, amen.

Amen, guys. Thanks for joining us. Share the Alone With God journal and these devotion guides with your friends and family for us. God bless you, see you soon. By-bye.
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